Institute of Cellular Medicine

Staff Profile

Dr Alistair Leitch

Research Associate


Research Interests

Hepatocytes are the primary cell of the liver, performing the majority of its unique functions, including the metabolism and clearance of xenobiotics. My work is focused on hepatotoxic effects resulting from the exposure to these drugs and chemicals. Using freshly isolated human hepatocytes I investigate the mechanisms of toxicity of drugs and chemicals as well as their cellular uptake and metabolism.


Current research

Investigating the hepatotoxic effects of an environmental xenobiotic.

We recently identified a xenobiotic in the local environment that has the potential to trigger primary biliary cholangitis (PBC). This xenobiotic, 1-octyl-3-methylimidazolium (C8mim; M8OI), is an ionic liquid that we have shown to be both toxic to liver progenitor cells and to be metabolised by human hepatocytes to a metabolite capable of incorporation into an antigen targeted by PBC patient auto-antibodies. 

  • In vitro and in vivo assessment of the toxicity of M8OI   
  • Determining the mechanism of toxicity 
  • Route of uptake and metabolism by human hepatocytes
  • Xenoestrogenic effects